RESTRICTIONS on when pensioners can use their free bus passes are being re-introduced to allow more workers to utilise public transport.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, West Yorkshire Combined Authority lifted restrictions on when concessionary travel passes could be used.

With many stores allocating specific shopping hours for elderly customers, often in the morning, the authority relaxed rules meaning they could travel on public transport for free before 9.30am.

But at a meeting of the authority’s transport committee, held remotely, members heard that continuing this would put a strain on bus services.

Due to social distancing guidelines, bus routes will have to transport fewer passengers at any one time.

Paul Matthews, managing director of the First Bus company, told the meeting that double-decker buses could be reduced to carrying just 19 passengers to allow people to keep their distance.

With a change in Government guidelines now meaning more people are being encouraged to travel to work, the committee was told that free travel for bus pass holders would once again be limited to after 9.30am.

This would provide more capacity on buses for people travelling to work, members heard.